Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1481-1492; doi:10.3390/nano5031481 (registering DOI) - published 1 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Here, we report a two-step synthesis of graphene/sulfur/carbon ternary composite with a multilayer structure. In this composite, ultrathin S layers are uniformly deposited on graphene nanosheets and covered by a thin layer of amorphous carbon derived from β-cyclodextrin on the surface. Such a unique microstructure, not only improves the electrical conductivity of sulfur, but also effectively inhibits the dissolution of polysulfides during charging/discharging processes. As a result, this ternary nanocomposite exhibits excellent electrochemical performance. It can deliver a high initial discharge and charge capacity of 1410 mAh·g−1 and 1370 mAh·g−1, respectively, and a capacity retention of 63.8% can be achieved after 100 cycles at 0.1 C (1 C = 1675 mA·g−1). A relatively high specific capacity of 450 mAh·g−1 can still be retained after 200 cycles at a high rate of 2 C. The synthesis process introduced here is simple and broadly applicable to the modification of sulfur cathode for better electrochemical performance.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1469-1480; doi:10.3390/nano5031469 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Improving the energy capacity of spinel Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) is very important to utilize it as a high-performance Li-ion battery (LIB) electrode. In this work, LTO/Si composites with different weight ratios were prepared and tested as anodes. The anodic and cathodic peaks from both LTO and silicon were apparent in the composites, indicating that each component was active upon Li+ insertion and extraction. The composites with higher Si contents (LTO:Si = 35:35) exhibited superior specific capacity (1004 mAh·g−1) at lower current densities (0.22 A·g−1) but the capacity deteriorated at higher current densities. On the other hand, the electrodes with moderate Si contents (LTO:Si = 50:20) were able to deliver stable capacity (100 mAh·g−1) with good cycling performance, even at a very high current density of 7 A·g−1. The improvement in specific capacity and rate performance was a direct result of the synergy between LTO and Si; the former can alleviate the stresses from volumetric changes in Si upon cycling, while Si can add to the capacity of the composite. Therefore, it has been demonstrated that the addition of Si and concentration optimization is an easy yet an effective way to produce high performance LTO-based electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1454-1468; doi:10.3390/nano5031454 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We develop a strategy for preparing water-based dispersions of polymer/TiO2 nanospheres that can be used to form composite materials applicable in various fields. The formed hybrid nanospheres are monodisperse and possess a hierarchical structure. It starts with the primary TiO2 nanoparticles of about 5 nm, which first assemble to nanoclusters of about 30 nm and then are integrated into monomer droplets. After emulsion polymerization, one obtains the water-based dispersions of polymer/TiO2 nanospheres. To achieve universal size, it is necessary to have treatments with intense turbulent shear generated in a microchannel device at different stages. In addition, a procedure combining synergistic actions of steric and anionic surfactants has been designed to warrant the colloidal stability of the process. Since the formed polymer/TiO2 nanospheres are stable aqueous dispersions, they can be easily mixed with TiO2-free polymeric nanoparticle dispersions to form new dispersions, where TiO2-containing nanospheres are homogeneously distributed in the dispersions at the nanoscale, thus leading to various applications. As an example, the proposed strategy has been applied to generate polystyrene/TiO2 nanospheres of about 100 nm in diameter.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1442-1453; doi:10.3390/nano5031442 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The effect of laser irradiation on surface wettability of cyclic olefin polymer (COP) was investigated. Under different laser parameters, a superhydrophilic or a superhydrophobic COP surface with a water contact angle (WCA) of almost 0° or 163°, respectively, could be achieved by direct femtosecond laser irradiation. The laser power deposition rate (PDR) was found to be a key factor on the wettability of the laser-treated COP surface. The surface roughness and surface chemistry of the laser-irradiated samples were characterized by surface profilometer and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively; they were found to be responsible for the changes of the laser-induced surface wettability. The mechanisms involved in the laser surface wettability modification process were discussed.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1431-1441; doi:10.3390/nano5031431 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A variety of metal nitrates were filled into the pores of an ordered mesoporous CMK-3 carbon matrix by solution-based impregnation. Thermal conversion of the metal nitrates into the respective metal oxides, and subsequent removal of the carbon matrix by thermal combustion, provides a versatile means to prepare mesoporous metal oxides (so-called nanocasting). This study aims to monitor the thermally induced processes by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), coupled with mass ion detection (MS). The highly dispersed metal nitrates in the pores of the carbon matrix tend to react to the respective metal oxides at lower temperature than reported in the literature for pure, i.e., carbon-free, metal nitrates. The subsequent thermal combustion of the CMK-3 carbon matrix also occurs at lower temperature, which is explained by a catalytic effect of the metal oxides present in the pores. This catalytic effect is particularly strong for oxides of redox active metals, such as transition group VII and VIII metals (Mn, Fe, Co, Ni), Cu, and Ce.
Nanomaterials2015, 5(3), 1418-1430; doi:10.3390/nano5031418 - published 27 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We studied the physico-chemical properties (size, shape, zeta-potential), cellular internalization and toxicity of gold nanoparticles (NPs) stabilized with the most abundant mammalian protein, collagen. The properties of these gold NPs were compared to the same sized gold NPs coated with synthetic poly(isobutylene-alt-maleic anhydride) (PMA). Intracellular uptake and cytotoxicity were assessed in two cell lines (cervical carcinoma and lung adenocarcinoma cells) by employing inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis and a cell viability assay based on 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), respectively. We found that the collagen-coated gold NPs exhibit lower cytotoxicity, but higher uptake levels than PMA-coated gold NPs. These results demonstrate that the surface coating of Au NPs plays a decisive role in their biocompatibility.